The Chilliwack Chiefs recorded their first W of the 2012-13 season Saturday night, edging the Nanaimo Clippers 2-1 at Prospera Centre.
Playing their second BCHL Showcase game as the ‘visiting team,’ the Chiefs rebounded from a 2-1 loss to Penticton Friday night with a more energetic effort. The A game still wasn’t quite there, but it was a step in the right direction as the team prepares for its official home opener next weekend.
The teams traded goals in a fast-paced first period.
Cooper Rush opened the scoring for Chilliwack. With Nanaimo’s Austin Dick serving two minutes for tripping, the capital B big blueliner uncorked a snap shot through traffic, putting the puck past Clipper goalie Jayson Argue at 12:09.
Nanaimo answered back at 15:22 on a goalie by Jesse Neher. Chiefs goaltender Mitch Gillam looked awkward, perhaps not picking up the shot as it left Neher’s stick. The puck got through the five hole, tying the game at 15:22.
Shots on goal in period one favoured the Clips 13-11.
Chilliwack got the only goal of the middle frame, taking advantage of a Nanaimo penalty parade.
The Chiefs enjoyed two lengthy five-on-threes, scoring on the second.
With Christopher Rygus already in the box for boarding, Austin Dick picked up a double minor for high sticking.
Rygus had just stepped on the ice when Chilliwack’s Shay Laurent fed a pass to David Thompson. The Philadelphia native one-timed a short-side rocket over Argue’s shoulder to put the Chiefs up 2-1 at 18:42.
Shots on goal in period two favoured Chilliwack 14-6.
The final frame opened with Chilliwack’s Mathieu Tibbett and Nanaimo’s Mason Mitchell trading fists.
Mitchell started the brouhaha with a minor mugging of Chiefs rookie Mitch Skapski. Tibbett came to the rescue and did so effectively, landing a handful of solid left jabs before the linesmen pulled them apart.
The rest of the period was boring, which is pretty much what you want when protecting a one goal lead.
Gillam didn’t have much to do in the Chilliwack net, facing 11 mostly-harmless shots.
The final shots on goal tally was even at 30-30.
The three stars were Alexander Perron-Fontaine (Chilliwack, first), Trevor Hills (Chilliwack, second) and Argue (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Skapski.
The Chiefs are in Surrey Friday night, and host the Eagles in the home opener Saturday night.
Puck drop is 7 p.m. at Prospera Centre.